This series regarding the situation with Anthony DeSilva has somewhat soured my impression of the hockey community. We are supposed to be protecting these kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but I can’t understand why so many people would think that opening any door for DeSilva would be a good idea.
Let’s make this very clear; anybody that has knowingly taken a phone call from DeSilva, and did not report that interaction to SafeSport, is morally guilty of enabling a permanently ineligible person. There are a lot of people that simply did not know about DeSilva’s story, and we understand that.
I could make a list of well over 25 coaches and teams that fall into that category. That’s not going to happen, today. Instead, I’m going to give everyone the opportunity to right the wrong. Please report any interaction you have had with DeSilva to your league and SafeSport immediately.
Peter Preteroti is not so lucky. I cannot tell you that Buffalo Regals owner Mike Answeeney KNEW that his team directly benefited from Preteroti’s relationship with DeSilva, but the Regals certainly did.
So has the United States Premier Hockey League’s Detroit Fighting Irish. “Listen, I’ve known Tony for a long time, and I was happy to take his players,” general manager Dan Vasquez said on Monday. “They paid their fees and have been good additions to my team.”
Mind-boggling. Legally, there’s nothing wrong with Vasquez’s decision and he does not see anything wrong with it. It was also his to make. Telling the hockey world about that choice is my decision to make. At the minimum, every parent should have been made fully aware of DeSilva’s history. Passing on that information would have been the right thing to do and I’m not sure that happened.
The USA Hockey Winter Meetings open this morning here in Orlando and this issue will be a hot topic throughout the week.
My challenge for all in attendance is this; we must keep banned individuals from sneaking back into the game. There has to be a serious consequence for people like Preteroti who have gone to such great measures to enable DeSilva.
Coaches that fail to report contact with DeSilva should face some type of sanctions as well.
Information is everything, so let’s get the word out. Local affiliates need to get information to the rinks, leagues to all staff and teams, and the rest of us as well. If we see something, say something.
Tony, I know you are reading this, please leave the kids alone.
Let me close with this note from one of DeSilva’s former players.
Hey Stephen, I knew Tony for only about 6-8 months, I went out there to play for his team when I was 15. Tony did a lot of odd things the first day I met him. I remember vividly he was chasing a teammate around the rink trying to grab his privates, telling him he was going to pull his pants down. Tony quickly took to me, he would call me cutie all the time and just made me feel uncomfortable while I was around him. While we were at the EJHL showcase, he had kids stay in his hotel room and come see him in his room as well. I’m not 100% sure what happened, or what had been said in the room, but he invited me to stay in his room that weekend. Not too long after this he got arrested by the Florida police and my Mom thankfully pulled me out of the organization and brought me home. Looking back on it I’m not sure what could have happened if I was there for much longer as a player. It’s 100% true kids kind of just brushed off his weird behavior because he was such a successful coach, they wanted to have success so most kind of just let him do what he wanted to them, like the grabbing, and verbal things he would do and say to them.
**We will add comments from other players here as well, as they come in.**